Gaining Empathy? I guess

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Post by Conreezy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:19 pm

kleenestar wrote:I think your goals for yourself sound really good, but I'd suggest you stop and think about whether you'll actually be happy if your plan works.

There's a lot of truth here. I spent my early 20s completely resigned to the fact that I was not an attractive romantic candidate as I was, but was working on a checklist that, I thought, would get me there in a few years.

I've hit everything on the list almost ten years later, but in a lot of ways, I still wonder if I've "made it" because I can get caught up in looking for a ridiculous amount of unmistakable, measurable assurances. (I'm married, and these insecurities can still pop up.) When, exactly, will I be good looking/funny/successful/athletic/charming/supportive enough? The confidence it takes to get anywhere with anything can only come from feeling that you are good enough as you are. Like Hermit says, it has to change your attitude; self-improvement is admirable, but it's more than just a new coat of paint.
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Post by BasedBuzzed on Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:25 pm

Can we get some good quality pics, if you're up for it? We've had multiple times here that average people thought of themselves ugly as sin, or had easily fixable things as their biggest looks flaws(haircuts, clothing style).

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Post by nolorn on Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:20 pm

BasedBuzzed wrote:Can we get some good quality pics, if you're up for it? We've had multiple times here that average people thought of themselves ugly as sin, or had easily fixable things as their biggest looks flaws(haircuts, clothing style).  

https://imgur.com/ZH3tkC6
https://imgur.com/3TngIHO


yeah sure, my hair is my biggest worry as I know it will be gone in a few short years
I am 5' 11" and a half, and am about 214 lbs

to Kleenstar, I guess I kind of want it not necessarily because it may be good or bad, but just to experience it and kind of add some richness to my life which has been dominated by varying academic performance, school and hobby cooking and long hours in transit


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Post by sky on Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:35 pm

You, sir, are a regular, normal-looking guy.

More toward the good-looking end of the scale, actually. You look like your whole face probably lights up when you smile. You also look to me like someone who could look great bald, so I think looks-wise that won't be an issue you need to worry about. (I know it's not that easy to just stop worrying about something, though.)

nolorn wrote:I guess I kind of want it not necessarily because it may be good or bad, but just to experience it and kind of add some richness to my life which has been dominated by varying academic performance, school and hobby cooking and long hours in transit

I think focusing on the richness you would like in your life would be a really good thing for you right now. When I feel sort of stagnant, I try to find some new things to be excited about and go to related classes or events. The result is usually that I get to practice some of my social skills, I maybe expand my social circle a little bit, and I generally find myself feeling happier overall.
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Post by IHaveToes on Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:21 pm

So it looks like my guy and you have about the same hair. I can't quite tell from the pictures, but from your side shot it looks like you have a bit of a bald/thinning path on the back of your head. Correct?
My guy, who has a large-ish bald spot on the back, looks best with his hair cut relatively short. It seems counter intuitive, but but to about 1-1.5 inches it makes him look much younger than when it's grown out.
From the front I wouldn't be able to tell if you were thinning/bald around the back, neither would most people in my opinion. And since people will be mainly looking at you from the front, I don't think any balding/thinning will matter too much to your appearance.

In my opinion you're a good looking guy. Plus, cooking skillz are always sexy. My friends rave about dates where the guy cooks for them. Put that hobby to work!

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Post by kleenestar on Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:29 pm

nolorn wrote:
I kind of want it not necessarily because it may be good or bad, but just to experience it and kind of add some richness to my life which has been dominated by varying academic performance, school and hobby cooking and long hours in transit

Can you be more specific about the "it" you want? Some kind of romantic experience that you're defining as "young love?" Or do you just mean that you are okay if the women who are attracted to you in the future lack empathy, because you aren't looking for anything serious but just an "experience?"

I do like that you're looking for ways to enrich your life. I don't think that's something that has to wait until you've gotten all your ducks in a row; it's something you can start doing on a smaller scale now. Though if you're doing a long commute it may be hard ... !

As for your photos - your second photo is great, you have a lovely and elegant profile. Unfortunately you look really angry and hostile in the first picture, and it's hard for me to get past that. I'd love to see you smile.
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Post by BasedBuzzed on Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

nolorn wrote:
BasedBuzzed wrote:Can we get some good quality pics, if you're up for it? We've had multiple times here that average people thought of themselves ugly as sin, or had easily fixable things as their biggest looks flaws(haircuts, clothing style).  

yeah sure, my hair is my biggest worry as I know it will be gone in a few short years at most

https://imgur.com/ZH3tkC6
https://imgur.com/3TngIHO

I am 5' 11" and a half, and am about 214 lbs

Neat clothes, frame of glasses that suits your face shape, average length and weight, face that would look neat with a variety of grooming styles: I don't think you have anything to worry about in the looks department, and I'm operating on Euro student town standards.

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Post by Guest on Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:56 am

Wait, you're the guy I and everyone else said was cute and then you ignored all our responses to your thread? We gave you loads of advice, not to mention compliments.

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Post by nolorn on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:13 pm

embertine wrote:Wait, you're the guy I and everyone else said was cute and then you ignored all our responses to your thread? We gave you loads of advice, not to mention compliments.
oh yeah I remember that, I will be getting new clothes this weekend. Thanks for the advice. I'll try to keep it more in mind.

kleenestar wrote:
snip.

Well ideally it will be a long term relationship, but there are few women in my major lol and I did not know I came of as that angry and aggressive. But yeah i am not sure how to proceed. I am involved in the student professional society, but that is about it.

Thanks

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Post by IHaveToes on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:39 pm

nolorn wrote:Well ideally it will be a long term relationship, but there are few women in my major lol and I did not know I came of as that angry and aggressive. But yeah i am not sure how to proceed. I am involved in the student professional society, but that is about it.
A tip from a woman in a male-dominated major: When you do talk to the women in your major, please avoid the I-know-the-most-technical-terms competition. Every woman I talk to in my engineering college (including me) mentions this as something they HATE when guys do. In fact, try to branch off to non-major topics relatively early in the conversation when you're trying to cultivate relationships (platonic or not) with people in your major.

As far as looking angry, if you aren't normally a smiley, try practicing a smile in a mirror so you get used to smiling. Try remembering to smile at least once per conversation.

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Post by nolorn on Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:11 pm

IHaveToes wrote:
A tip from a woman in a male-dominated major: When you do talk to the women in your major, please avoid the I-know-the-most-technical-terms competition. Every woman I talk to in my engineering college (including me) mentions this as something they HATE when guys do. In fact, try to branch off to non-major topics relatively early in the conversation when you're trying to cultivate relationships (platonic or not) with people in your major.

As far as looking angry, if you aren't normally a smiley, try practicing a smile in a mirror so you get used to smiling. Try remembering to smile at least once per conversation.


Yeah i hardly ever do that- I ususally ask how they have been and talk about other things, or homework in common classes I don't think i want to pursue a romantic relationship with them because it may compromise our professional relationship, and there are only a handful of girls, like less than 10 in our class, but to be fair our entire class is about 50 students in our year.

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Post by kleenestar on Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:37 pm

Okay, so I'm going to be blunt: if you want a satisfying long-term relationship with a woman who is not just going to use you, then developing empathy for women is not optional.

I understand that given your family dynamics, this may be a big challenge for you. I'm not going to push you to tackle it, because I don't think you'll get very far unless you're the one who is driving the change. But I'll gently suggest that it may take you some time to change this attitude, and that if you want a loving and satisfying long-term relationship with a woman who cares about you, it might not be a bad idea to start experimenting now.
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Post by nolorn on Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:14 pm

reboundstudent wrote:
snip


Although I would not do that now, in the future, if I am older and more desperate.... I don't think I would have a problem sleeping with someone who I was attracted to, in some capacity, but was not attracted to me, it would be a sad day for me to do it, and I dearly hope it never comes to that.

From your story I can surmize that you were in some capacity attracted to that guy who used you, and unless the sex was terrible, you got a satisfying sexual relationship from someone you were attracted to and who recused himself from you before he could let his truly shitty colors fly. I can't honestly say that was a horrible terrible thing to happen to you, may be a shitty one, but not an abysmal one.

kleenestar wrote:
snip


So I was watching a documentary on the real 'Goodfellas' the actual mobsters who the Scorsese film was based on. I was struck by how shitty the mobsters treated their girlfriends and wives, particularly in physical abuse. I realize that physical danger in dating is more real and present for women than it is for men.

Then again these mobsters weren't much empathetic to their male colleagues and competitors.

To have a good relationship I guess you have to be empathetic in general, not towards women per se.

I still don't see how this will make me more attractive or successful in getting a woman to say yes to a date with me -maybe in some abstract way I will be a better husband/boyfriend- but as someone more successful with women in terms of dating success? no. Will the potential woman who I have a relationship with take advantage of and use me? yes and my empathy for her will do little to stop this.  

I guess women and men have very different challenges when it comes to hetero dating, but empathy and decency towards others is something you practice to satisfy your own self and your own principals, not because it will make you attractive or successful with the opposite sex.


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Post by eselle28 on Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:16 pm

nolorn wrote:
reboundstudent wrote:
snip


Although I would not do that now, in the future, if I am older and more desperate.... I don't think I would have a problem sleeping with someone who I was attracted to, in some capacity, but was not attracted to me, it would be a sad day for me to do it, and I dearly hope it never comes to that.

From your story I can surmize that you were in some capacity attracted to that guy who used you, and unless the sex was terrible, you got a satisfying sexual relationship from someone you were attracted to and who recused himself from you before he could let his truly shitty colors fly. I can't honestly say that was a horrible terrible thing to happen to you, may be a shitty one, but not an abysmal one.

As an attempt to get at empathy in another way, imagine if someone (not me, this is a hypothetical rather than a statement of things I believe) said to you, "From your comments online, I can surmise that you've had trouble finding women who are interested in dating you, but that they've always ignored your interest or declined your invitations rather than entering into relationships with you and treating you poorly. I can't honestly say that's a horrible, terrible thing to happen to you. It may be a shitty one, but not an abysmal one." How would you feel if someone reacted to your dating struggles like that? Would you be hurt, annoyed because some of the assumptions are incorrect, or angry that someone who probably hasn't had your experience is telling you that your pain isn't all that serious? If so, that's the first step to empathy. Really achieving it doesn't mean imagining how you, with your history and preferences and values, will react to things. It's understanding how others may be different from you and how they might have feelings that are similar to your own about different things.

As for why it matters, would you want to hang around with someone who dismissed your feelings in the way the person in the hypothetical did? If not, that's why it's important. I'd also note that empathy doesn't necessarily have to make you a pushover. In a lot of cases, it can do the opposite, and can help you figure out people's motives - whether they be benevolent, neutral, or malicious.
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Post by nolorn on Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:32 pm

eselle28 wrote:
nolorn wrote:
reboundstudent wrote:
snip


Although I would not do that now, in the future, if I am older and more desperate.... I don't think I would have a problem sleeping with someone who I was attracted to, in some capacity, but was not attracted to me, it would be a sad day for me to do it, and I dearly hope it never comes to that.

From your story I can surmize that you were in some capacity attracted to that guy who used you, and unless the sex was terrible, you got a satisfying sexual relationship from someone you were attracted to and who recused himself from you before he could let his truly shitty colors fly. I can't honestly say that was a horrible terrible thing to happen to you, may be a shitty one, but not an abysmal one.

As for why it matters, would you want to hang around with someone who dismissed your feelings in the way the person in the hypothetical did? If not, that's why it's important. I'd also note that empathy doesn't necessarily have to make you a pushover. In a lot of cases, it can do the opposite, and can help you figure out people's motives - whether they be benevolent, neutral, or malicious.

I mean, I'm a guy, whenever I complain online about my dating experience, I get accused of whining or being a poor prospect going after supermodels, or that I should make myself more 'datable' or myself more attractive, or that I should keep trying, or that Things could be much worse  

I have experienced things that are much worse than not getting a date- like dropping out of college the first time, the possibility of being homeless, and damn near freezing my toes off in one Canada's forsaken winters.

Dating is at the bottom of my totem pole of concerns, so someone disparaging me on my lack of success does not bother me in the slightest- it is even expected so if a person told me that, I would not judge him or her if this person expressed such sentiments towards me.

And reading people's true intentions does not come from empathy, it comes from cunning.

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Post by UristMcBunny on Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:36 pm

nolorn wrote:And reading people's true intentions does not come from empathy, it comes from cunning.

...No, no it really doesn't.  Some very intelligent people who struggle with empathy can find it very difficult to understand people's intentions.  Intelligence and cunning allows you to analyse people's behaviour.  But without empathy, you're far more likely to ascribe people's behaviour to broad stereotypes than to anything accurately describing the person in question.

Also?

[MOD] While in the wider world things can indeed be shitty for people looking for help with dating, we try NOT to duplicate those issues here. The fact that you've been treated poorly by people minimising your dating problems does not make it okay to minimise other people's problems here. Eselle was giving you a polite nudge to not be a dick. I'm giving you a firmer one. We do not play "who has it worse" here. [/MOD]

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Post by nolorn on Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:42 pm

UristMcBunny wrote:
nolorn wrote:And reading people's true intentions does not come from empathy, it comes from cunning.

...No, no it really doesn't.  Some very intelligent people who struggle with empathy can find it very difficult to understand people's intentions.  Intelligence and cunning allows you to analyse people's behaviour.  But without empathy, you're far more likely to ascribe people's behaviour to broad stereotypes than to anything accurately describing the person in question.

If they are going to be negative or have ill intentions toward me, I don't care that they are a shitty human being because their pet bunny rabbit died when they were a toddler, I don't even care what stereotype I assign them to, I just want to get away from them as fast as possible.

There are different kinds of intelligence, some people are better at math some are better at reading emotions and people, sometimes exclusively, sometimes they can be both.

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Post by UristMcBunny on Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:49 pm

That's... not even slightly what I mean.

Here, let me give you an example.

Person A, who lacks empathy: This woman I like turned me down for a date but then went out with someone else! I personally think the guy she's dating now is an arsehole because of my totally unbiased opinion that is not at all influenced by my upset over being rejected. So that must mean she's dating him because he's an arsehole and I'm too nice! Everyone knows women do things like that. She's probably dating him just to hurt me.

Person B, who does not lack empathy: It sucks that the woman I liked turned me down, and it's kind of upsetting to me to see her with this new guy she likes. I guess she must just not have felt for me whatever spark she feels with him. I don't feel like I can really be unbiased about them right now and seeing them together makes me feel bad - I know they're not doing on purpose, though. I'll give myself some time and distance from them until I feel better about things.

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Post by reboot on Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:49 pm

I always find it strange that people think being empathetic=risk of being a pushover when in my experience it is the opposite because empathetic people tend to be better at seeing the underlying emotions and causes for behaviors and thus tend to be better at detecting and avoiding manipulation and exploitation earlier in a relationship. Unempathetic people are more likely to use broad, stereotypical explanations for behaviors and motives and miss the individual motivations for behaviors which makes them more vulnerable to a good manipulator.

For a geek example of an empathetic, think Bene Gesserit, possibly the best depiction of the power of empathy in fiction.
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Post by nolorn on Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:21 pm

reboot wrote:I always find it strange that people think being empathetic=risk of being a pushover when in my experience it is the opposite because empathetic people tend to be better at seeing the underlying emotions and causes for behaviors and thus tend to be better at detecting and avoiding manipulation and exploitation earlier in a relationship. Unempathetic people are more likely to use broad, stereotypical explanations for behaviors and motives and miss the individual motivations for behaviors which makes them more vulnerable to a good manipulator.

For a geek example of an empathetic, think Bene Gesserit, possibly the best depiction of the power of empathy in fiction.

From what I have seen online the Bene Gesserit are machiavellian power mongers and rapists via imprinting. Maybe I have to read Dune to get a better idea of their empathy, but they look like psychopaths from what I see of them.

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Post by eselle28 on Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:35 pm

nolorn wrote:
reboot wrote:I always find it strange that people think being empathetic=risk of being a pushover when in my experience it is the opposite because empathetic people tend to be better at seeing the underlying emotions and causes for behaviors and thus tend to be better at detecting and avoiding manipulation and exploitation earlier in a relationship. Unempathetic people are more likely to use broad, stereotypical explanations for behaviors and motives and miss the individual motivations for behaviors which makes them more vulnerable to a good manipulator.

For a geek example of an empathetic, think Bene Gesserit, possibly the best depiction of the power of empathy in fiction.

From what I have seen online the Bene Gesserit are machiavellian power mongers and rapists via imprinting. Maybe I have to read Dune to get a better idea of their empathy, but they look like psychopaths from what I see of them.  

I think that's reboot's point. Empathy isn't the same as goodness. It's a tool that helps you understand others' behavior. You can use that in moral ways like a therapist or a social worker might, in manipulative ways like a Bene Gesserit might, or in morally neutral ways like the average person on the dating scene might. I think most of us here would be encouraging the moral or neutral kinds of empathy, but regardless, it's not a trait of the pushover.
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Post by nolorn on Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:39 pm

eselle28 wrote:
nolorn wrote:
reboot wrote:I always find it strange that people think being empathetic=risk of being a pushover when in my experience it is the opposite because empathetic people tend to be better at seeing the underlying emotions and causes for behaviors and thus tend to be better at detecting and avoiding manipulation and exploitation earlier in a relationship. Unempathetic people are more likely to use broad, stereotypical explanations for behaviors and motives and miss the individual motivations for behaviors which makes them more vulnerable to a good manipulator.

For a geek example of an empathetic, think Bene Gesserit, possibly the best depiction of the power of empathy in fiction.

From what I have seen online the Bene Gesserit are machiavellian power mongers and rapists via imprinting. Maybe I have to read Dune to get a better idea of their empathy, but they look like psychopaths from what I see of them.  

I think that's reboot's point. Empathy isn't the same as goodness. It's a tool that helps you understand others' behavior. You can use that in moral ways like a therapist or a social worker might, in manipulative ways like a Bene Gesserit might, or in morally neutral ways like the average person on the dating scene might. I think most of us here would be encouraging the moral or neutral kinds of empathy, but regardless, it's not a trait of the pushover.

yeah that is cunning, empathy by definition is:
the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this
knowing a person's motives and feelings, awknoledging their personhood, then crushing them and treating them as pawns is not empathetic, it is psychotic and sadistic.

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Post by eselle28 on Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:48 pm

nolorn wrote:

I think that's reboot's point. Empathy isn't the same as goodness. It's a tool that helps you understand others' behavior. You can use that in moral ways like a therapist or a social worker might, in manipulative ways like a Bene Gesserit might, or in morally neutral ways like the average person on the dating scene might. I think most of us here would be encouraging the moral or neutral kinds of empathy, but regardless, it's not a trait of the pushover.

yeah that is cunning, empathy by definition is:
the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also :  the capacity for this
knowing a person's motives and feelings, awknoledging their personhood, then crushing them and treating them as pawns is not empathetic, it is psychotic and sadistic.

I believe that my definition of empathy fits well within the definition that you quoted. This vicarious experience is what allows you to fully understand others' behavior. Notably, the fact that you vicariously experience and understand someone's actions doesn't mean you have to approve of them or agree with them. You can understand and identify with someone's behavior, draw comparisons to times when you were behaving in negative ways, and decide to criticize or avoid someone on the basis of that.

People who are psychotic and sadistic can be very empathetic. However, I don't think it's very helpful to focus on negative uses of empathy. There are many positive and neutral ones that don't involve being a pushover. You don't seem to be very interested in exploring what those might be. Is there a reason for that?
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Post by nolorn on Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:56 pm

eselle28 wrote:

I believe that my definition of empathy fits well within the definition that you quoted. This vicarious experience is what allows you to fully understand others' behavior. Notably, the fact that you vicariously experience and understand someone's actions doesn't mean you have to approve of them or agree with them. You can understand and identify with someone's behavior, draw comparisons to times when you were behaving in negative ways, and decide to criticize or avoid someone on the basis of that.

People who are psychotic and sadistic can be very empathetic. However, I don't think it's very helpful to focus on negative uses of empathy. There are many positive and neutral ones that don't involve being a pushover. You don't seem to be very interested in exploring what those might be. Is there a reason for that?

Oh yeah, empathy can make the world a great place, make you a good friend, but can it get you a date? Even your definition of empathy? no

I really wish I did not have a desire to date or want companionship. I hate this vulnerability, this weakness, how even in the best of times, the saddness of lonliness comes back and ruins the moment for me. It has gotten to the point where I cannot watch any kind of movie where romance is even a peripheral part of the plot- watching a movie like "The Fault in our stars" would make me suicidal and ill.

I envy Data from Star Trek, especially his inability to feel emotions, and find Roddney's proselytizing of him wanting to be 'a real boy' to be tiresome and irritating

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Post by UristMcBunny on Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:00 pm

I think I might be confused about what definition you're using for "cunning", nolorn.  Because my understanding of cunning is that it means basically what the dictionary definition is:

"having or showing skill in achieving one's ends by deceit or evasion."

"skill in achieving one's ends by deceit."

To me, empathy - which you defined as "the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner" is very much in line with what I've been describing.  All that description states is that a person with empathy is capable of understanding and intuiting the perspective of others.  The definition states exactly nothing about what an empathic person then does with that information.

And in my experience empathy cannot "get you" a date because there is no such thing as A thing that will get you other people's love, attraction or interest. No such thing like that exists. But what empathy can do is increase your ability to connect emotionally with other people, to learn to read and correctly intuit their emotions and needs, and respond to them accordingly. Which improves your ability to get along with people. Which increases your chances of meeting and getting along with someone.

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